Education: Exceptional Learner/Special Education (EDSE) (MAEd)

Degree: Master of Arts in Education
Program of Study: Exceptional Learner/Special Education (EDSE)
Program Code: 8216

About This Major . . .

The Master of Arts in Education, Exceptional Learner/Special Education is designed as a dynamic program to meet the needs of education professionals as they gain additional expertise in one or more state endorsement areas. The degree is awarded after successful completion of 36 semester hours with a Capstone Project.  The program is designed to provide the student with 12 hours of Master’s foundation courses in theory of curriculum design and assessment, educational technology, culture and pedagogy, research, and a capstone project. The subsequent courses focus on Exceptional Learner/Special Education skills and competencies.

The program is designed in accordance with the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) accreditation standards for Special Education generalist endorsement and approved by the Colorado Department of Education. Admission to the program follows the stated guidelines for graduate admission procedures outlined in the university catalog. Additionally, students must provide three letters of reference from the profession, educator professional license, and a statement of purpose.  Only students with valid teaching licensure will be considered for admission. The degree is granted after completion of all courses with a grade of B or better and a ranking of proficient or better on a Capstone Project.

Important information for this program:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college is required, prior to beginning the program.
  • Admission to the program follows the general admissions policies and procedures for graduate programs outlined in the university catalog and online.
  • A Statement of Purpose commenting on your personal educational philosophy and interest in the program and evidence of active involvement with youth and a copy of your Colorado Teaching Certificate are required.
  • It is recommended that students work closely with a faculty advisor when selecting courses and scheduling classes prior to registration.

All CMU masters-level graduates are expected to demonstrate proficiency in specialized knowledge/applied learning, quantitative fluency, communication fluency, critical thinking, information literacy, and ethical reasoning. In addition to these campus-wide student learning outcomes, a graduate of this program will be able to:

  1. Create and deliver oral and written communication based on sound educational theory and research in guiding instruction for learners who are exceptional. (Communication Fluency)
  2. Evaluate and formulate education plans based on research and legal requirements outlined in federal legislation. (Critical Thinking and Specialized Knowledge)
  3. Synthesize, evaluate, and refine information from an information base of scholarly resources. (Information Literacy)
  4. Evaluate and articulate responses to moral, ethical, legal, and professional challenges from the perspective of an advocate for learners who are exceptional. (Ethical Reasoning)
  5. Employ statistically valid processes to analyze assessment data to evaluate student learning with respect to district, state, and federal goals. (Quantitative Fluency)
  6. Work individually and collaboratively on research-based change and innovation in Education. (Specialized Knowledge and Applied Learning)

Each section below contains details about the requirements for this program. Select a header to expand the information/requirements for that particular section of the program's requirements. 

To print or save an overview of this program's information, including the program description, learning outcomes, requirements, suggested course sequencing (if applicable), and advising and graduation information, scroll to the bottom of the left-hand navigation menu and select "Print Options." This will give you the options to either "Send Page to Printer" or "Download PDF of This Page." The "Download PDF of This Page" option prepares a much more concise presentation of all program information. The PDF is also printable and may be preferable due to its brevity. 

Institutional Graduate Degree Requirements

The following institutional requirements apply to all CMU graduate-level degrees. Specific programs may have different requirements that must be met in addition to institutional requirements.

  • Graduate certificates consist of a minimum of 5 credit hours.  Master’s degrees consist of a minimum of 30 credit hours. Doctoral degrees consist of a minimum of 60 credit hours.
  • All credits in a graduate program must be minimally at the 500-level.
  • At least fifty percent of the credit hours must be taken at CMU.
  • Students must achieve a 3.00 cumulative GPA or higher in all CMU coursework.
  • Students may not apply coursework with a grade lower than a “B” toward graduation requirements.  
  • A course may only be used to fulfill one requirement for each degree/certificate.
  • Capstone exit assessment/projects (e.g., Major Field Achievement Test) requirements are identified under Program-Specific Requirements.
  • The Catalog Year determines which program sheet and certificate requirements a student must fulfill in order to graduate. Visit with your advisor or academic department to determine which catalog year and program requirements you should follow.
  • See “Graduate Degree Requirements” in this catalog for a complete list of graduation requirements.
  • All policies for graduate degrees are outlined in the Graduate Policies and Procedures Manual, Capstone Guidelines Manual, and Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines Manual, all of which are provided on the Graduate Studies website

Program Specific Requirements

(36 semester hours, must earn a grade of "B" or better in each course.)

  • It is recommended that students work closely with a faculty advisor when selecting courses and scheduling classes prior to registration.
Core Courses
EDUC 500Culture and Pedagogy3
EDUC 501Educational Technology2
EDUC 502Theory, Design & Assessment of Curriculum3
EDUC 503Introduction to Educational Research and Design3
EDUC 600Master's in Education Capstone1
Exceptional Learner Courses
EDSE 500Foundation of Special Education Including Law3
EDSE 501Instructional Strategies in Special Education3
EDSE 502Behavioral Interventions for the Learner with Special Needs3
EDSE 503Methods of Teaching Students with Mild Disabilities Reading and Math3
EDSE 506Educating Students with Low Incidence Disabilities in Inclusive Environments3
EDSE 510The Learner Who is Twice Exceptional, Including Gifted and Talented3
EDSE 515Internship K-6 Elementary Practicum in Special Education3
EDSE 520Internship 6-12 Secondary Practicum in Special Education3
Total Semester Credit Hours36
Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Summer SemesterSemester Credit Hours
EDUC 502 Theory, Design & Assessment of Curriculum 3
EDUC 503 Introduction to Educational Research and Design 3
EDSE 500 Foundation of Special Education Including Law 3
 Semester Credit Hours9
Fall Semester
EDUC 501 Educational Technology 2
EDSE 501 Instructional Strategies in Special Education 3
EDSE 515 Internship K-6 Elementary Practicum in Special Education 3
 Semester Credit Hours8
Spring Semester
EDSE 502 Behavioral Interventions for the Learner with Special Needs 3
EDSE 520 Internship 6-12 Secondary Practicum in Special Education 3
 Semester Credit Hours6
Second Year
Summer Semester
EDUC 500 Culture and Pedagogy 3
EDSE 510 The Learner Who is Twice Exceptional, Including Gifted and Talented 3
 Semester Credit Hours6
Fall Semester
EDSE 503 Methods of Teaching Students with Mild Disabilities Reading and Math 3
 Semester Credit Hours3
Spring Semester
EDSE 506 Educating Students with Low Incidence Disabilities in Inclusive Environments 3
EDUC 600 Master's in Education Capstone 1
 Semester Credit Hours4
 Total Semester Credit Hours36

Advising Process and DegreeWorks

Documentation on the pages related to this program is intended for informational purposes to help determine what courses and associated requirements are needed to earn a degree. Some courses are critical to complete in specific semesters while others may be moved around. Meeting with an academic advisor is essential in planning courses and discussing the suggested course sequencing. It is ultimately the student’s responsibility to understand and fulfill the requirements for her/his intended degree.

DegreeWorks is an online degree audit tool available in MAVzone. It is the official record used by the Registrar’s Office to evaluate progress towards a certificate and determine eligibility for graduation. Students are responsible for reviewing their DegreeWorks audit on a regular basis and should discuss questions or concerns with their advisor or academic department head. Discrepancies in requirements should be reported to the Registrar’s Office.

Graduation Process

Students must complete the following in the first two months of the semester prior to completing their degree requirements:

  • Review their DegreeWorks audit and create a plan that outlines how unmet requirements will be met in the final semester.
  • Meet with their advisor and modify their plan as needed. The advisor must approve the final plan.
  • Submit the “Intent to Graduate” form to the Registrar’s Office to officially declare the intended graduation date and commencement ceremony plans.
  • Register for all needed courses and complete all requirements for each degree sought.

Submission deadlines and commencement details can be found at

If your petition for graduation is denied, it will be your responsibility to apply for graduation in a subsequent semester. Your “Intent to Graduate” does not automatically move to a later graduation date.